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Empire Dreams Captures NY Derby

Empire Dreams winning the New York Stallion Stakes in November at Aqueduct

July 16, 2014 · By Erin Birkenhauer · Share

Very rarely is breaking a step slow a good thing in horse racing. But Saturday’s $150,000 New York Derby at Finger Lakes may be an exception. Tom Albertrani trainee Empire Dreams broke a step slow and avoided a pileup that was worthy of the Belt Parkway outside of Aqueduct. Ridden confidently by Manny Franco, the 3-year-old son of Patriot Act overcame a huge speed bias and stormed home by over two lengths in his first two turn attempt.


“I love this horse,” said jockey Manny Franco. “When we got on the track he seemed so happy and really did everything I asked of him. I rode him he like he was the boss and he was.”

WPT COO Tom Bellhouse was on hand and said, “Well it’s not the Kentucky Derby, but we’re New Yawkers, so winning the New York Derby is a thrill. Manny is one cool cucumber. After the pileup at the break, he sat out in the middle of the track before timing his move perfectly even though there were a couple anxious moments for those of us who watched the track playing to speed all day. All along we thought ED would excel around two turns, and know if all goes as planned we get a huge opportunity to go to the Spa as one of the choices in the Albany.”

Empire Dreams is now pointing for the final leg of the “Big Apple Triple”, the $250,000 Albany Stakes run at 1 1/8 miles on the dirt on Sunday, August 24 at Saratoga.